At BlueRock Wealth Management, we hear stories every day of clients who completed an innocent transaction only to discover that their card numbers had been stolen. What can we do to prevent this from occurring, and what should we do in the aftermath?

In our four-part series about cyber security, we’ll look at a real-life scenario, tips for fraud prevention, and emerging threats that we should all be aware of for the safety and security of our financial information. The following is a real-life scenario that could happen to anyone:

“At the end of July, I traveled up to Montreal for vacation. I turned the cellular data on my iPhone off and put my phone on airplane mode, meaning I would only receive iMessages when I was connected to Wi-Fi. I went out for the day to do some exploring, and when I tried to use my debit card at the metro station, it was declined. I let it go and used my credit card to purchase the ticket with no problem.

Discovering the Problem

“When I got back to the hotel, the declined card was still on my mind. I connected to (secure and private) Wi-Fi and logged onto my online banking app. There I saw three charges from Long Island, New York—hundreds of miles away. All three charges were small—under $15 each—but I knew my debit card number had fallen into the wrong hands. Normally, I would receive text message alerts of the purchases, but because I did not have cell phone service, the texts could not go through. I immediately sent my bank a message via the app and reported the fraudulent charges, asking them to close my account if they had not already.

The Aftermath

“When I got back home, I visited my bank to report the fraud in person and get a new debit card. Because my physical card was not lost or stolen, the bank reimbursed me for the fraudulent purchases.

They didn’t have any insight on how my debit card number was exposed, but with the countless data breaches in the last few years, I can’t say I’m surprised. While we want to prevent our information from being stolen, we need to accept that some of it has already been exposed and we need to have protection measures in place.

“Normally, my text message alerts would do that, but like many things in life, cybersecurity doesn’t always work out as planned. Because my personal security is something I think about on a daily basis, I didn’t let the declined charge go, and I investigated further. I may have stopped a large purchase from being made with my message to the bank.”

While this scenario is certainly disconcerting, it is important to note that he took action quickly to ensure that his accounts were secured. At BlueRock Wealth Management, we are committed to assisting you in instances such as these and will work with you to ensure your financial accounts are safe.

Stay tuned for part two of our series, in which we will discuss tips for dealing with fraudulent transactions, talking with your bank, and having a new card issued.

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